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post #1 of 56 Old 11-24-2018, 07:39 PM Thread Starter
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Air to water cooling

Hey guys. I am currently putting together ideas for my engine turbo system that is going in my 68 coup. its a twin turbo setup that will be basically all custom piping. In the past i have only used air to air inter cooling, but as this is a new build i was interested in trying to set up something air to water (if there is something to be gained by doing so).

i am wondering if anyone here has any knowledge or experience with this and can chime in. some of the things i am wondering are

-Is there any substantial gains to be had by doing this
-How much space does something like this require?
-Parts involved
-anyone have pics of their setups?

thanks for the help, any info is welcome..

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post #2 of 56 Old 11-26-2018, 01:52 AM
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There are three reasons to go air-to-water.

1.) The plumbing is easier because the IC does not have to be in a cool airstream

2.) The A2W has considerable thermal inertia. The water in the system can soak up far more heat than almost any other material. This means you can use a small radiator and have plenty of heat dissipating capacity for sudden bursts of boost. For example I don't have to run ice in my ice tank. I can just circulate room temperature water without ice and my IAT won't go past 160F in a pass.

3.) The system can use ice to get IAT's down below room temperature for several seconds.

I initially started using a VW radiator with a Frozen Boost type 26 IC. This worked fine, but I never race on the street. I decided to clean up my front area by removing the VW radiator used as a heat exchanger in the A-W-A system. I installed a 2.5 gallon plastic insulated tank to hold water (with ice if I need it).

The largest issue is pumping water fast enough to keep the IC stable in a pass. I'd need 20-30 GPM and that isn't happening, so I tolerate a rise from 50F to 100F+ over a pass. Even if it gets to 130F IAT it is still OK for me.

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post #3 of 56 Old 11-26-2018, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
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There are three reasons to go air-to-water.

1.) The plumbing is easier because the IC does not have to be in a cool airstream

2.) The A2W has considerable thermal inertia. The water in the system can soak up far more heat than almost any other material. This means you can use a small radiator and have plenty of heat dissipating capacity for sudden bursts of boost. For example I don't have to run ice in my ice tank. I can just circulate room temperature water without ice and my IAT won't go past 160F in a pass.

3.) The system can use ice to get IAT's down below room temperature for several seconds.

I initially started using a VW radiator with a Frozen Boost type 26 IC. This worked fine, but I never race on the street. I decided to clean up my front area by removing the VW radiator used as a heat exchanger in the A-W-A system. I installed a 2.5 gallon plastic insulated tank to hold water (with ice if I need it).

The largest issue is pumping water fast enough to keep the IC stable in a pass. I'd need 20-30 GPM and that isn't happening, so I tolerate a rise from 50F to 100F+ over a pass. Even if it gets to 130F IAT it is still OK for me.
thanks for the info! So you are saying the the radiator for the A2W doesnt need to be out front of the car necessarily? about how large of an actual radiator is necessary (its a twin so do i need 2 separate?)

what are you using to pump water? i have to run water cooling to my turbos as well as they are oil less.


are there any downsides to going A2W that i may not be thinking of?
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post #4 of 56 Old 11-26-2018, 05:46 PM
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20-30GPM? Wow, I wouldn't have guessed it to be so high. I have a chemical transfer pump I had planned on using someday, but I think it's rated at 12gpm.

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post #5 of 56 Old 01-25-2019, 06:18 AM
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post #6 of 56 Old 01-25-2019, 07:34 AM
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I use a Rule 2000 pump that is rated at 33 GPM.

It flows more than that now as I run it with 16 volts

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Best 1/8 mile time 5.339 @ 133.46 mph with a 1.29 60'
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post #7 of 56 Old 01-25-2019, 12:36 PM
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Some BMW's use a 12V (I think it's 12V) external water pump. $200ish. Might be an option.
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post #8 of 56 Old 01-25-2019, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Goose302 View Post
Hey guys. I am currently putting together ideas for my engine turbo system that is going in my 68 coup. its a twin turbo setup that will be basically all custom piping. In the past i have only used air to air inter cooling, but as this is a new build i was interested in trying to set up something air to water (if there is something to be gained by doing so).

i am wondering if anyone here has any knowledge or experience with this and can chime in. some of the things i am wondering are

-Is there any substantial gains to be had by doing this
-How much space does something like this require?
-Parts involved
-anyone have pics of their setups?

thanks for the help, any info is welcome..
is this a...
100% street car
street/track (%/% please)
100% track car

'90 notch w/an "old school" cartech outlaw kit
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post #9 of 56 Old 01-25-2019, 04:50 PM
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There are three reasons to go air-to-water.

1.) The plumbing is easier because the IC does not have to be in a cool airstream

2.) The A2W has considerable thermal inertia. The water in the system can soak up far more heat than almost any other material. This means you can use a small radiator and have plenty of heat dissipating capacity for sudden bursts of boost. For example I don't have to run ice in my ice tank. I can just circulate room temperature water without ice and my IAT won't go past 160F in a pass.

3.) The system can use ice to get IAT's down below room temperature for several seconds.

I initially started using a VW radiator with a Frozen Boost type 26 IC. This worked fine, but I never race on the street. I decided to clean up my front area by removing the VW radiator used as a heat exchanger in the A-W-A system. I installed a 2.5 gallon plastic insulated tank to hold water (with ice if I need it).

The largest issue is pumping water fast enough to keep the IC stable in a pass. I'd need 20-30 GPM and that isn't happening, so I tolerate a rise from 50F to 100F+ over a pass. Even if it gets to 130F IAT it is still OK for me.

Is there a guide to determining a best heat exchanger side for a A2W IC system? The OP needs more heat rejection for his car, others will need different levels of cooling. It's interesting.
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post #10 of 56 Old 01-26-2019, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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is this a...
100% street car
street/track (%/% please)
100% track car
i would like to be able to drive the car to the tracks within my few state area, run it on the track, and drive home. it will see probably about 50/50 time? most parts of this build are around the track performance, while keeping it street legal

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post #11 of 56 Old 01-26-2019, 12:08 PM
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IMO opinion of you will be driving it on the street go with an air to air. The big benefit of an air to water is being able to put ice water in it, great for the track.

A good air to air cooler with good air flow to it will run close to ambient. At 15lbs of boost my air temps will about 5 degrees above ambient temp at the end of a run.
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post #12 of 56 Old 01-26-2019, 04:28 PM
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If A2A was the most efficient way to cool, all the OE's would be doing it. It's got to be cheaper and it is definitely simpler, but as far as I know they all use A2W setups. GT500, Corvette, Camaro, Mercedes, BMW, all used liquid systems. That says something to me.
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post #13 of 56 Old 01-26-2019, 06:38 PM
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Water has clear advantages over an A2A system, street or not. This is true with or without ice.

Water, pound for pound, can absorb (and release) significantly more heat than almost anything. It takes a huge mass and surface area of metal to dissipate the same heat with only air as it does to remove heat through water.

I used a A2W with a VW radiator out front because of pipe routing and room, but a side benefit was the airflow would cool the IC water system to near outside air temp when I was not using boost. The huge thermal mass of the water would then allow me to use boost for short periods without need a great big giant heat exchanger. The water acted like a heat sink and provided thermal storage. The little radiator could trickle the heat out when I wasn't using boost.

I can actually go to the track with my ice tank and make a full pass without overheating the water even without a radiator. The only issue is I start at tank temperature, and my tank is insulated, so it takes hours to cool back down to ambient.

The main drawback of a water system is water plumbing, the need for two exchangers or the normal IC and an ice tank, and the pump requirements.

I'm making around 1400 HP using a pretty small IC with minimal pressure drop.


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post #14 of 56 Old 01-26-2019, 07:57 PM
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Some Ford EcoBoost vehicles use air to air, some use air to water. It depends on the packaging requirements. The F-150 Ecoboost vehicles with either the 2.7 or 3.5 use air to air, but there is a ton of room for the plumbing of the air to air. Some of the Focus/Fusion/Escape can be either way. The tighter the engine compartment, the more likely that it is air to water. In Max HP applications, Ford always goes for air to water. The I/C core for my racecar measures only 4"wide by 11" long and only 5" deep and yet is able to support over 1,250 HP. Obviously I have maximized, for the most part, all of the other supporting hardware to make it work.
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1989 Saleen 414 358cid SBF 2.8L Kenne Bell S/C
26 X 8.5 Hoosier
Best 1/4 mile time 8.623 @ 159.82 mph with a 1.34 60' (5.57 1/8th at 128)
Best 1/8 mile time 5.339 @ 133.46 mph with a 1.29 60'
08' Bullitt #4097 N/A 340ish RWHP <<<<<FOR SALE!
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post #15 of 56 Old 01-26-2019, 08:26 PM Thread Starter
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Water has clear advantages over an A2A system, street or not. This is true with or without ice.

Water, pound for pound, can absorb (and release) significantly more heat than almost anything. It takes a huge mass and surface area of metal to dissipate the same heat with only air as it does to remove heat through water.

I used a A2W with a VW radiator out front because of pipe routing and room, but a side benefit was the airflow would cool the IC water system to near outside air temp when I was not using boost. The huge thermal mass of the water would then allow me to use boost for short periods without need a great big giant heat exchanger. The water acted like a heat sink and provided thermal storage. The little radiator could trickle the heat out when I wasn't using boost.

I can actually go to the track with my ice tank and make a full pass without overheating the water even without a radiator. The only issue is I start at tank temperature, and my tank is insulated, so it takes hours to cool back down to ambient.

The main drawback of a water system is water plumbing, the need for two exchangers or the normal IC and an ice tank, and the pump requirements.

I'm making around 1400 HP using a pretty small IC with minimal pressure drop.
I like the benefit that water produces, but which is going to have a larger overall footprint in the engine bay? I may try and low mount my turbos to gain room but that isn't locked in at this point. i am not overly worried about the cost difference if it is the right choice for the build.
it sounds like an A2W setup can act more efficiently and with smaller radiators (if i am reading this right) the down side being the need for a pump.

for the purposes of simplicity, lets take ice out of the conversation. water is still an extremely effective way to reject heat from what i understand. i would still be interested in seeing someones a2w system in pictures or maybe just drawn out.
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post #16 of 56 Old 01-27-2019, 07:38 AM
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water is still an extremely effective way to reject heat from what i understand.
You would understand correctly. This is why it is used exclusively to cool engines.....
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26 X 8.5 Hoosier
Best 1/4 mile time 8.623 @ 159.82 mph with a 1.34 60' (5.57 1/8th at 128)
Best 1/8 mile time 5.339 @ 133.46 mph with a 1.29 60'
08' Bullitt #4097 N/A 340ish RWHP <<<<<FOR SALE!
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Some Ford EcoBoost vehicles use air to air, some use air to water. It depends on the packaging requirements. The F-150 Ecoboost vehicles with either the 2.7 or 3.5 use air to air, but there is a ton of room for the plumbing of the air to air. Some of the Focus/Fusion/Escape can be either way. The tighter the engine compartment, the more likely that it is air to water. In Max HP applications, Ford always goes for air to water. The I/C core for my racecar measures only 4"wide by 11" long and only 5" deep and yet is able to support over 1,250 HP. Obviously I have maximized, for the most part, all of the other supporting hardware to make it work.

I like that 220ci intercooler size. I hope I can fit something over 150ci for my project.


What I read here that I didn't realize before, is that the heat exchanger can be smaller and less in the way of the radiator than I thought. It can be still be effective behind a smaller opening of the bumper and lower valance. I have a very tall radiator in my SUV, and was considering locating the heat exchanger partially above the bumper. I will aim for an exchanger size that is wider and fits below the grille opening.


I also like reading that a heat exchanger can be a common radiator design, and not a high dollar version from a top brand heat exchanger maker. Thanks for the ideas.

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post #18 of 56 Old 01-27-2019, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
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Water to Air Intercooler

so just as a starting point towards what i am looking to put together, how does something like this rate? is it possible to swap out the larger rad for 2 smaller ones i can remotely mount? is that fan a need? the shape of the cold side exchange seems to me commonly the "u" shape. is there something better for twins with smaller pipes?
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post #19 of 56 Old 01-28-2019, 04:18 AM
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goose, here's a pic of my set up. Not running yet but getting close. Ide like to hear what TomR has to say about it as I know he has looked into these setups in very fine details.. I plan on running two pumps feeding into one heat exchanger. Two feeds at the top and outlets at the bottom. Ok stupid app won't let me upload....will try again .
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post #20 of 56 Old 01-28-2019, 04:45 PM Thread Starter
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goose, here's a pic of my set up. Not running yet but getting close. Ide like to hear what TomR has to say about it as I know he has looked into these setups in very fine details.. I plan on running two pumps feeding into one heat exchanger. Two feeds at the top and outlets at the bottom. Ok stupid app won't let me upload....will try again .
hope you can get it sorted, interested to see
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post #21 of 56 Old 01-30-2019, 03:11 AM
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goose, here's a pic of my set up. Not running yet but getting close. Ide like to hear what TomR has to say about it as I know he has looked into these setups in very fine details.. I plan on running two pumps feeding into one heat exchanger. Two feeds at the top and outlets at the bottom. Ok stupid app won't let me upload....will try again .
hope you can get it sorted, interested to see
This app really ####s me (autoguide). It randomly doesn't let me attach pics..
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post #23 of 56 Old 01-30-2019, 05:43 AM
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I think the OP has disabled attachments...
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post #24 of 56 Old 01-30-2019, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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I think the OP has disabled attachments...
if i did, i have no idea how it happened. how do i check?
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I think the OP has disabled attachments...
if i did, i have no idea how it happened. how do i check?
Not sure man. I always struggle in this forum, and on this autoguide app. What's your email, I'll send you a few pics.
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[QUOTE=eboost;18528094]Not sure man. I always struggle in this forum, and on this autoguide app. What's your email, I'll send you a few pics.[/Q

pmed
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[QUOTE=Goose302;18528136]
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Not sure man. I always struggle in this forum, and on this autoguide app. What's your email, I'll send you a few pics.[/Q

pmed
See if you can attach it in here lol
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[quote=eboost;18528162]
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See if you can attach it in here lol
the usual drop to attach thing seems to be missing. only way to attach is a url?
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[QUOTE=Goose302;18528304]
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See if you can attach it in here lol
the usual drop to attach thing seems to be missing. only way to attach is a url?
Did you get my email?
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[quote=eboost;18528490]
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Did you get my email?
i did, i tried to respond. thanks! so those were the biggest "radiators" you could fit.. did you or could you go smaller if you wanted?
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post #31 of 56 Old 02-04-2019, 03:56 PM
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i would like to be able to drive the car to the tracks within my few state area, run it on the track, and drive home. it will see probably about 50/50 time? most parts of this build are around the track performance, while keeping it street legal
50/50 i don't personally see the reason to go a/w, although you haven't really given any insight into your setup and/or power goals either so as typical with forums...

garbage in

garbage out

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[QUOTE=Goose302;18528530]
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Did you get my email?
i did, i tried to respond. thanks! so those were the biggest "radiators" you could fit.. did you or could you go smaller if you wanted?

They were the biggest ones I could fit to support the power goals.
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post #33 of 56 Old 02-06-2019, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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50/50 i don't personally see the reason to go a/w, although you haven't really given any insight into your setup and/or power goals either so as typical with forums...

garbage in

garbage out
Riiiight... Well i was really here trying to information gather more than anything else.. you know, see what the ups and downs are (cost, size, capability, so on) Would you care to share the reason for your opinion? As i am just trying to gather information to make a informed decision, i am interested in both opinions for or against. No, i guess i didn't give enough information apparently, though it is in my profile if someone wanted to find out and make a stab at an opinion. Apparently i should have put it in the post, at the time i didn't think it was relevant to my line of questioning.

If you needed more info to help out, you can always just ask

its a dart 363 twin turbo setup, shooting for ~750 hp area but im not too concerned about the hp number it produces. full Griggs suspension. serpentine setup as would see in a foxbody. custom whatever to make it fit. does that info change whether A2A or A2W cooling is more effective?
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post #34 of 56 Old 02-09-2019, 09:46 PM
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there's no denying that a properly sized a/w setup with ice will get you sub ambient air intake temps, which is a no-brainer for a track car, but i don't see the practicality on a street car.

for the guys running a/w setups on the street feel free to share some data as i'm all ears... go out and cruise around for 30 minutes on a 70 degree plus day, make some pulls on the highway and then post some data such as...
ambient temp
gear
rpm
boost
air intake temp
water temp of a/w (before and after temps would be great)

few different points, which people seem to ignore at times...

SIZING: sorry to be blunt but high percentage of turbo guys can't read a compressor maps and can't size their own turbo, so how are they going to size the needed cooling load. copying one persons setup is not ideal, and like someone else mentioned above everyone's needs/application/setups are different.

WEIGHT: intercooler and cold side piping between the two systems is pretty much a wash, but you do have the added weight of the tank, pump, water lines, heat exchanger and fittings. let's not forget the water, which will be 11 gallons (using 10 gallon tank, 1" hose, tank in the trunk, 12' to front of the car, another 12' back), so in all another 11 gallons of water at 8.34lb/pound gives you an added 91 pounds in water. 5 gallon tank would be less, but still nearly 50 pounds in water alone.

PACKAGING: your 750hp car will probably have the battery in the trunk so negative and positive cables running under the car. aftermarket fuel system to support that power means over-sized feed and return lines running running under the car. and now additional feed and return hoses for the water. suppose you could run it through the interior though. also, if i'm not mistaken the engine bays on the older cars are even smaller than foxes and with twin turbos things do get hotter in the engine bay.

ice melts and if you're out cruising around with incorrectly sized system your water will heat soak, so in all don't see the value of it on the street. if an a/a is not enough you can always run water-methanol injection with the a/a to lower the air intake temps plus get the bonus of essentially race gas. that's what i'm running on my 700rwhp car (gotta go back to the dyno and crank up the boost as it should make low 800s). and before someone says that my water-methanol injection pump can fail or system can malfunction my pro-m efi has built in flow meter to handle any failures (snow also has safe injection).


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post #35 of 56 Old 02-10-2019, 08:01 AM
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The factory (Ford) runs air/water I/C on all of the S/C applications and on about 1/3 of the Turbo applications. Non of them take 11 gallons of water. Maybe 1-2 gallons tops. With a heat exchanger up front it does not take a ton of water to cool a boosted application. Even a 750+ HP engine will only have 3 gallons or so of water for the entire cooling system of the engine. Don't see the need for 11 gallons, unless it is for drag racing purposes and one is not using a heat exchanger. My system if full will hold about 9 gallons of water tops and it supports over 1,200 HP and I use no heat exchanger. Just dump 20 lbs of ice in before the pass and sub ambient temps at 20+ psi at full chat are not a problem. Air/water works. I have datalogged my outlet temps from the S/C at full boost and see over 300*. The temp of the air hitting the engine after the air/water I/C is in the low 70* range on a 90* day. That is a temp drop of around 230+ degrees. No bad in my opinion.
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1989 Saleen 414 358cid SBF 2.8L Kenne Bell S/C
26 X 8.5 Hoosier
Best 1/4 mile time 8.623 @ 159.82 mph with a 1.34 60' (5.57 1/8th at 128)
Best 1/8 mile time 5.339 @ 133.46 mph with a 1.29 60'
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